Author's Note: This is an AU (Alternate Universe) fic. It's set in modern day Winchester. As such, there are no magical notebooks, no Kiras and no Shinigami. While the fic is, well, unlikely (it is a story after all) it's all plausable. Don't be on Kira watch! As a side note, I am actually English, so I apologize if some cultural references are lost on you fellows from across the pond. I guess I'm thinking of the CCTV thing especially..
Finally, I am sorry for the slightly cliche idea in the first couple of chapters, but it was necessary and isn't a huge theme throughout. Enjoy.
Most things end with a body, but this started with one.
By all accounts, Winchester is not the sort of place you want to donate your youth to. It's too old a place that's too far from London and too expensive to live in. The weather was no better than anywhere else in England, which meant that it was only warm about three days out of every hundred. And so, as he often asked himself, it was impossible to tell why Matt was still living there.
Matt did not really have any friends in Winchester. He didn't have friends full stop. He wasn't exactly the most sociable person in the world…
On top of that, he did not even remotely like his job. Well, alright, he did a little. Just when everyone else was occupied and no-one was around. He worked in a library. He'd never wanted to, never even considered it; not until he'd needed money, anyway, and had seen the advertisement. No experience necessary. How he'd passed the interview he'd never know.
Matt had nothing tying him to Winchester, but unfortunately, there was nothing to pull him away, either. So, everyday he woke up alone in his dismal-looking little flat, walked to work, spent the day explaining the dewey decimal system to toffs, smoked and went home again. Every single day. Mind numbingly repetitive, but he had nothing better to do.
One day, a remarkably cloudless one at that, he got up and dressed as usual, and then walked to work. The library was relatively empty. Apparently most people had better things to do than be stuck inside all day, with only books for company. Matt found several occasions to abandon his post sorting through returned books in the back room to come into the main library and read. Only one of his superiors was around today, and she was too busy with her own matters to notice him. He was freed by five o'clock and left the looming building as quickly as possible. Sometimes, he would swear it was staring at him as he walked away, as if at any moment it would tear itself out of the ground and chase after him. It creeped him out, but luckily he found cause to turn a corner swiftly enough, putting the library out of view. Or him out of its view; he wasn't sure.
He noticed, with disdain, that as soon as he'd left the safety of the building, clouds had begun to gather in the sky overhead. Not white, fluffy innocent clouds either; big, fat grey ones which would probably start pouring water down on him as soon as possible. He hadn't had the foresight to bring a coat. Brilliant.
As it started to rain, lightly at first, he quickened his pace. As it turned more frantic, he grew more and more desperate to get home. He started to run. He was almost ten minutes off track before he realised he'd made a wrong turn. He cursed loudly and turned all the way around; pressing a hand to his forehead above his eyes to see better. He couldn't be sure which way it was back to the main road; it was either that way or that way… they all looked the same. He cursed again. Spitting into the rain, he ducked into a doorway to get out of the wet while he thought about what to do next. He may at least be miserable in comfort.
If this was going to be his life from now on, and it had been for a long time now, he should at least try to accept it even if he couldn't enjoy it. It may not have been what he'd planned… but then he couldn't remember the last time he'd had plans further than the afternoon. It seemed an awful waste to give up on your life at twenty. He pulled a packet of cigarettes from his pocket, removed one, lit it and shoved it into the corner of his mouth. He felt slightly better at once. As the veil of self-pity lifted, his eye suddenly fell on a puddle of gold streaming from behind several trash cans. He squinted, but whatever the source; it was hidden behind piles of rubbish bags. With a frown he dropped the cigarette on the floor and made his way cautiously over.
As he leant down beside the trash cans, he felt a wave of shock rush through him. There was a girl there, with her face squashed against the wall and her short, golden hair sticking out where he had seen it. He wrapped his arms around her shoulders and pulled her out. Another shock. It wasn't a girl, but a young man. Now that Matt could see him properly he could tell, although there was something distinctly feminine about his face. Matt wondered for a second if he was dead. He could be holding a dead body and not even realise it yet. The thought made him twitch. He checked the stranger's pulse to find that their heart was still beating. On closer inspection, he saw that they were breathing too, if raggedly and lightly. However they ended up in a pile of rubbish didn't matter; they seriously needed to be taken to a doctor. Matt didn't have a phone with him. He thought quickly. His flat was probably only about ten minutes walk away; six at a run. How much more would it be carrying someone..?
Matt hoisted the damaged body into a threshold carry and made off as quickly as he dared in what he hoped was the right direction. He found himself able to run a lot faster than usual with the adrenaline pumping through him. This was going to be alright.
Four minutes later, he found himself outside his flat. Or, more precisely, at the door of the shop he lived above. The shop had been closed a year or so ago and the windows were all boarded up lazily, but the owner still rented the cheap little flat above to anyone fool or broke enough to go for it. Right now, that was Matt. He struggled his way up the stairs and reached his front door. He gently laid the boy down in the hall, at the foot of the door, as he searched in his jeans pocket for his key. Just as he pulled it out and approached the lock with it, he heard a strained gurgle from the floor.
"Dun… call a… amb'lance…"
The previously unconscious boy stared shakily at him with a single eye open. Despite himself, Matt couldn't help but notice how eerily intense the other boy's eyes were. He silently told himself to get a grip.
"What do you mean; you're hurt!" Matt said with a frown. The boy shook his head and closed his eye, appearing to pass out again. Matt sighed. They were obviously delirious. But then… it had obviously taken a lot of strength for them to squeeze the words out. And they'd stared at him with such ferocity, that he couldn't help but wonder if they had known exactly what they were saying. Maybe… maybe he had better not get involved.
And yet… he couldn't leave someone in this state all by themselves. He looked them over. Only their face and arms were visible, but both were badly scratched and bruised. The eye he hadn't managed to open was spectacularly black and blue. Matt had an unsettling feeling that whatever had happened to him, he wasn't supposed to wake up from it. Maybe he shouldn't get involved. But he couldn't do that. Scolding himself for being too nice, or too much of a pushover when it came to unconscious strangers, he unlocked his door and carried the boy inside.
Matt made sure all the bolts on the door were fastened and the curtains closed. His flat only had three rooms; a tiny bathroom, a bedroom and a kitchen/dining room/living room all crammed into one. He momentarily considered dumping his newly found mystery on the worn out old sofa, but found he was already carrying them through to the bedroom. He dumped the body on the bed and turned on the light. In the yellowy glow, the bruising on their face and arms was much more apparent. Matt wondered if they were bleeding from any hidden wounds. Maybe they'd even been stabbed. Or shot. He wished he could just bring himself to call an ambulance… but no, he couldn't. Not with the memory of the boy's stare burning in the back of his mind. He shivered, and in doing so, remembered that they were both soaked to the skin with rain. He changed his clothes and hung a towel around his shoulders to soak up the water dripping off his hair. The problem of what to do with his guest was slightly more daunting.
Eventually, Matt convinced himself that if he didn't do something, they would probably die right there in his bed. He would have one hell of a time trying to explain that to the police, or worse, his landlord. Trying not to look too hard, Matt peeled off the pair of leather gloves the boy was wearing. His fingers were unusually slender for a boy's and Matt wondered again if he was certain of their gender. He dismissed the thought and forced himself to continue. When he tried to stop, he just made himself imagine having to tell his landlord that there was a dead body in his flat. He found it a lot easier with the image in mind. Matt stripped the boy down to his underwear and searched his skin for any sign of deadly wounds. None. He was bruised and battered all over, but hadn't been stabbed or anything as far as Matt could see. He felt a rush of relief. No dead bodies today, then.
They did not regain consciousness at any point. Matt monitored their breathing and was glad to see that they remained very much alive. Eventually, he gave up watching the figure sleep, if that was what they were doing, and left the room, shutting the door behind him. He forced himself to eat something and spent the rest of the evening sitting on his sofa and staring into space. He'd brought home a mysterious, injured boy whom he had found in a pile of rubbish. OK. That was fine… but what was he going to do about it now..? He told himself that as soon as they woke up, they would tell him what to do. Probably just thank him for his hospitality and make their leave. Back to wherever they came from and whatever they did…
Matt smiled to himself. There was a boy in his bed and he didn't even know their name. It had been so long since he'd even spoken to anyone other than the little snobs who used the library and people he had monetary connections to. You had to appreciate the irony.
Matt lit another cigarette and wondered what he'd got himself into.